Posts Tagged Nurse Educators

Good News from Kansas after a Spectacularly Awful Day

Your humble charge nurse had an awesomely bad day, in a week of similarly nasty days, so crappy in fact that I’m too tired and fed up even for my usual upper-management-idiocy snarkiness. The only slight consolation is that I understand nearly every hospital in the Greater Toronto region has been overwhelmed with patients. Superior Hills General, our bigger neighbour down the road, I’m told, had an 36 admitted patients boarding the ED, and an unbelievable 61 patients held for consult.

The good news is that a judge has ruled against Johnson Community College in the placenta Facebook case. To say the court spanked the College would be an understatement. Some more details on the events leading to the expulsion:

Byrnes said the picture was on her Facebook profile for about 3 hours, until Delphia [Byrnes’ lab instructor] called her and requested she remove it, which she did. Byrnes says Delphia told her she wasn’t in trouble during the conversation.

But the next day, Byrnes said, Johnson County Community College Nursing Director Jeanne Walsh blasted her and the other students by screaming and crying at them.

“During the meeting, Director Walsh’s emotional conduct precluded the students from defending themselves and adequately explaining the reasons for engaging in the conduct in question,” the complaint states.

“Director Walsh summarily dismissed Plaintiff Byrnes and three other members of the lab group from the nursing program, and exclaimed, ‘I don’t know if I would want you back.'”

Is this how we want nurse educators to act? I don’t want to flog a dead horse, but again it strikes me the true professionals were the students, not the Nursing Director. In its press release, JCCC was typically gracious towards the students in admitting defeat, as it has been in this whole process. Okay, maybe not so much.

“We are disappointed with the court’s decision today,” said Terry Calaway, JCCC president. “Of course we’ll abide by the judge’s decision and readmit the student to the nursing program.

“The JCCC nursing program is widely known and respected for the quality of its instruction and its graduates. Sensitivity to patients and confidentiality of patient care is at the heart of what we teach. We took what we believed to be appropriate action, but the court saw the situation differently, so the student will be readmitted to the program.”

The students who took the photos were never expelled from the college, as has been reported, but were temporarily dismissed from the program.

Three other students who had been dismissed from the program will also be readmitted.

Classy to the bitter end, eh? (See, I’m so tired even my sarcasm bone is exhausted.)

To Doyle Bynes and colleagues: congratulations and well done. You do us proud, and you’re a credit to our profession.


*JCCC needs to give up on the “temporarily dismissed not expelled” spin. It’s a distinction without a difference, and it’s silly.

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Nursing Program Teaches Students to Act Like “Real” Nurses

I am really trying to understand this:

A new cap on class size in the University of Manitoba’s nursing faculty has left some students fuming after learning their studies have been put on hold.

But the faculty’s dean says the cap is meant to benefit fourth-year students, whom she says were told about the plans at their orientation in March.

Nursing students contacted the Free Press after showing up to enrol for classes last week and early this week, only to find key courses were full.

In other words, after spending thousands of dollars in years One through Three, these nursing students won’t be permitted to graduate because the nursing faculty didn’t have the foresight to plan properly for their students. Or maybe the UM nursing program is trying expose their students to real world bullying and nastiness, in the best nursing traditions of eating our young. Good role-modelling, that.

There is a justification for this, of sorts, under the category of blaming the victim:

Faculty of Nursing dean Dawna Crooks said students were told in early spring that changes were coming down the pipeline.

“They were warned that we were controlling the numbers in the courses by semester, and that if their GPA was lower, they would have more difficulty,” she said.

Oh yes, we’re only preventing the ones with lower grades from graduating. We warned them. If there’s going to be finger pointing, it should be back at the students. Et cetera. A couple of problems with this explanation. First, it implies if everyone got straight A’s, there wouldn’t be an issue. Clearly, this isn’t true: class sizes were going to be capped regardless of GPAs.  And if the UM nursing program was attempting to get rid of students it thought were going to be practising at an undesirably low level, why did it choose this back-door method of booting them out of the program? The official explanation doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in University of Manitoba Nursing or its integrity. Potential students, be warned.

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Poo Free

No more poo:

Student nurses are rejecting essential elements of bedside care because they feel it is not a worthwhile learning experience, research published by Nursing Times has found.

The research found widespread conflict between student nurses and qualified staff over the tasks students should do on placement.

Tasks normally carried out by HCAs, such as making tea, washing patients and cleaning, were not seen as valuable learning opportunities for student nurses keen to gain experience with more technical roles like administering drugs.

As a result, many senior nurses feel that students are qualifying with significant gaps in their basic skills. One interview participant said: “I sometimes feel in despair that by the time students have qualified, they still haven’t gained some of the practicalities and common sense – things like time management, basic assessment skills – that we would have been doing on our first round.”

One student was reported to have told a staff nurse: “I keep being asked to do things which won’t help me learn – clear up poo, mop up blood, give patients tea and toast. I realised that I needed to more focused to learn, and I don’t do those sorts of things now. [The full study is here.]

I’m actually with the students on this. There are few things going on here. One is the perpetual nostalgia that nurses have for the good old days, when men were men and nurses were nurses, and we were trained by battle-axe old-school-types who flogged us students daily with used foley catheters before we walked home uphill in a blinding snowstorm to work all night on 45-page-long care plans. And that somehow produced wonderful, thoroughly trained nurses, unlike today’s crop of know-nothings. So say a lot of you, including many of my own colleagues.

Oh honey. I have a newsflash for you. We weren’t that good, or well trained, and we fumbled around just like today’s new grads. I know. I was one of you.

And then there is a notion that since we went through all that crap that Hilda Harridan RN made us do, the current generation needs to “pay its dues” too. Though it escapes me how making nursing student go through their paces like we did will make them better nurses.

From the times I walked the floor as a clinical educator, I spent a great of time defending my students from the sort of crazy, useless busywork that the ward staff seemed determined to make them do. Staff believed they were free, exploitable labour. The manager of one of units told me, “They will be great help for the nurses.” She grew shocked and angry when I suggested they weren’t peons or gophers, and accused me of not teaching the students proper “teamwork”. This in her eyes seemed to mean making the students do the pissy things no one else wanted to do. My students, in fact, were not there to fluff pillows, cart patients to x-ray, boil the kettle, organize the bedsides, take specimens to the lab or any of the innumerable trivial tasks that can consume your average med-surg floor.

They were there to learn.

And I still don’t see how making a cuppa for the dear in 6 or running that routine R&M downstairs will help nursing students in time management or pharmacology — which seems to be the prevailing attitude in clinical areas. Good nursing skills come from hours of doing patient assessments, developing advocacy skills and learning to think critically.

And frankly, I would much rather have a nurse at the bedside with amazing critical thinking and communication skills than one who can effectively wipe the poo from my bum.

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